How to Make a Nettle Plant Tonic

Create a fertiliser and plant tonic in your own back garden, using weeds! It's full of nitrogen and can be added to compost to help it rot down, used as a tonic for peaky plants or used as a general purpose plant feed.

Steps

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    Put on gloves.
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    Pick nettles. Try to pull up the whole plant, discard the roots in the garbage (NOT the compost, as roots cause more nettles!), and tear up the leaves and stalks with your hands.
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    Throw all the leaves in your bucket and pour over enough water to fill the bucket to about 3 inches (7.6 cm) from the top. The leaves all need to be covered.
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    Put the lid on the bucket and leave it in an out of the way place for it to work it's magic. Near the compost bins is a good idea.
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    Stir daily to add air, but remember to replace the lid, as the mixture smells awful.
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    After about 2 months, the mixture should have broken down sufficiently. Drain the liquid into another bucket, or bottle it, and throw all the left over nettle solids into your compost.
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    Dilute the liquid 1 cup mixture to 5 cups water to use as a general plant feed, 1 cup to 3 water to use as a special plant tonic for particularly unwell plants and 1 cup to 1 water as a compost additive.

Tips

  • Use a pH testing kit to work out the acidity of your tonic, to make sure you don't use it on a plant that won't like it.
  • Slightly warm water helps the tonic to break down.
  • Comfrey leaves can be used instead of nettle.

Warnings

  • Keep the bucket out of reach of children. They naturally want to open it, pour it about or roll in it.
  • It smells really bad. So don't handle it whilst wearing good clothes.

Things You'll Need

  • A bucket with a lid (anything about 5 litres is a good size)
  • Nettle leaves
  • Stick for stirring
  • Gloves

Article Info

Categories: Compost Mulch and Soil Preparation